6th APT FMM, 2005

Chairman’s Press Statement of the Sixth ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting, 27 July 2005, Vientiane

Vientiane, Laos 27 July 2005

1.  The Sixth ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting was held on 27 July 2005 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Somsavat Lengsavad, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR.

2.  The Ministers expressed their appreciation to Japan for the successful hosting of the Informal ASEAN+3 Foreign Ministers Meeting and the 7th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers Meeting in May 2005 in Kyoto, Japan. The Ministers also expressed their appreciation to the Republic of Korea for its initiative in convening the ASEAN+3 Ministerial Meeting on Creative Management for Government in May 2005 in Seoul.    

3.  The Ministers exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest, particularly developments in the Korean Peninsula. They welcomed the recent resumption of the Six-Party Talks and hoped that the concerned parties would find solutions acceptable to all sides towards a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula on the basis of the principle of mutual respect for sovereignty and equality for the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the wider Asia Pacific region.  They also welcomed the recent resumption of the inter-Korean dialogue and the thaw in the inter-Korean relations, which will be a major step towards achieving peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

4.  The Ministers expressed their concern over the continued violence in Iraq and condemned the recent increase in terrorist attacks, including the attacks in London and Sharm el-Sheikh.  They expressed their sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrorists’ attacks.

5.  They welcomed the recent positive developments in the Middle East and recognized the need to carry out the implementation of the Roadmap and the relevant UN Resolutions so as to realize the vision of two states of -Israel and Palestine- living side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.

6.  The Ministers reiterated their support for the UN reform and agreed that the reform should be comprehensive and consider the needs of the developing countries. 

7.  The Ministers attached importance to effective leadership of the United Nations (UN) to address the needs and aspirations of all people, particularly those in the developing world. They welcomed the understanding of the Asian-African Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta in April 2005 that it would be the turn of the Asian region to occupy the post of the UN Secretary-General which will become vacant upon expiry of the term of the current Secretary-General at the end of 2006. In this regard, ASEAN informed the Plus Three Countries of ASEAN’s strong support for its candidate from Thailand, Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai, for this important post. 

8.  The Ministers welcomed the accession of Mongolia and New Zealand to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia on 29 July 2005 in Vientiane.  They also welcomed Australia’s intention to accede to the Treaty in December 2005 upon due completion of its domestic procedures.

9. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the ASEAN+3 process and its continued relevance to the development of the East Asian region. The Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress achieved in ASEAN+3 cooperation over the past 8 years, which covers 17 sectors and has 49 mechanisms to facilitate and implement the cooperation.  They welcomed the efforts made by the ASEAN+3 countries in the implementation of the short-term and medium and long-term measures of the East Asia Study Group (EASG), which was adopted by the ASEAN+3 Summit in 2002.  They reiterated the need to accelerate and complete the implementation of all the 17 short-term measures of the EASG by the 10th Anniversary of the ASEAN + 3 cooperation in 2007. In this respect, they noted with appreciation the proposals being considered by their senior officials to rationalize and ensure the timely implementation of these measures. They also agreed that the implementation of the medium and long-term EASG measures should be speeded up to further consolidate ASEAN+3 cooperation.

10.  The Ministers exchanged views on the modalities of and participation in the East Asia Summit (EAS).  They noted that the first EAS, apart from ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, will be participated by Australia, India, and New Zealand.  They welcomed the decision of ASEAN to keep the EAS open, outward-looking and inclusive and for the continued driving seat of ASEAN.

11.  The Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Lao Government for the successful hosting of the regional workshop on poverty alleviation programme in July 2005 in Vientiane, which was one of the EASG short-term measures.

12.  The Ministers welcomed the decision of the Leaders at the ASEAN+3 Summit in Vientiane in 2004 to issue a 2nd Joint Statement on East Asia Cooperation on the 10th Anniversary of the ASEAN+3 process in 2007 and agreed that the drafting process should begin as early as possible. In this regard, they agreed to review all activities under ASEAN+3 cooperation and to involve ASEAN+3 sectoral bodies in the elaboration of the document, taking into account recommendations made by ASEAN+3 mechanisms, such as the Network of East Asia Think-Tanks (NEAT), East Asia Forum (EAF), and others.

13.  The Ministers welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN+3 Directors-General Working Group and the ASEAN+3 Contact Group, which will help in the coordination and implementation of ASEAN+3 cooperation, especially the implementation of various activities and projects as well as the EASG measures.  They noted with satisfaction the work undertaken by the ASEAN+3 Unit in the ASEAN Secretariat in coordinating and implementing ASEAN+3 cooperation.  They expressed appreciation to China for its contribution of USD 200,000 to the ASEAN+3 Unit in order to meet the Unit’s capacity building needs.  They also welcomed the offer of assistance by Japan and the ROK to the Unit.

14.  The ASEAN Ministers noted with appreciation the commitment of the Plus Three Countries to further contribute to the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) and the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) as part of their efforts to support the process of ASEAN integration.

15.  The Ministers discussed the preparations for the Ninth ASEAN+3 Summit and the First East Asia Summit, which will be held on 12 December 2005 and 14 December 2005 respectively in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.